THE GOSPEL WAS ALWAYS PLAN A: GALATIANS 3:6-14

   

PLAN AFrom the foundations of the earth, God’s eternal purpose was the gospel. One might wonder, however, what was the function of the Old Testament in general and the law specifically. After all, aren’t we to live good and moral lives according to the 10 Commandments and all? Good people go to heaven, right?

Sure, good people go to heaven.

The problem is, there is only one who is good. Jesus says plainly to the rich young ruler whom asked him on how to gain eternal life, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone?” (Mark 10:17)

How good is good enough? How many good things must one do and how much must one restrain themselves from sin?

For the law-lovers of ancient Galatia (and a timely message for our own time), the churchies and religious folk boasted about all the good stuff they were doing—and in fact insisted on such moral check-lists of do’s and don’ts to be part of the Jesus’ community.

This is a fundamental misunderstanding of the Gospel. There is no “your part” in the gospel; no “I must do ______” in your salvation.

No amount of good deeds, changed behavior, or wallowing guilt will remove one fraction of the sinful stain left on one’s flesh and soul.

Religion’s answer is to spray perfume on this corpse and hope no one notices the pungent scent of decay. And perhaps most don’t. After all, if everyone around is giving off the same oder, who’s to say it is you?

Paul makes some extreme claims about where humanity stands on this issue.

“For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” (Gal. 3:10)

Unless you are perfect, you are cursed. The obvious answer is, then, that you are cursed. Paul comes to this same conclusion.

“No one is justified [found innocent, right, moral] before God by the law [by effort, moral actions, obedience to rules, rituals, and traditions].” (Gal. 3:11)

No Hail Mary’s, acts of contrition and penance, or moralizing revives us. Christ does.

“Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us.” (Gal. 3:13)

We were cursed, doomed, and had no hope. Languishing in our own death and aguish was our destiny. But Jesus became our cursed selves, having no curse of his own, and broke the curse through his death.

Jesus took our cross. He took our sin, neither of which did he have of his own, and died for us as us. Jesus became humanity to save humanity. He took human sin so that sin would be separated from humanity.

Jesus completed the impossible task that no human could…no saint, holy man, or pure virgin. All were sinful. All were cursed. And all find their freedom and hope in the man/God Jesus.

This was always the plan.

And this idea may be the most profound. God never expected us to be able to doit ourselves. He never anticipated us to be able to obey the law. We could never do it—not 2000 years ago, not now, and not a thousand years into the future.

God was never surprised at the fall of man. And He is never surprised at your failures.

He had always planed to redeem you as his own.

His love was always plan A.

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  • Ben

    This raises a few questions for me.

    1)What do you do with Enoch, Prophet Elijah and the ever Virgin Mary? They don’t to seem to fit the model of humanity you’ve presented.

    2) How does a ‘loving’ father *intentionally* plan to kill his son?

    3) Why would a loving deity set up an entire people up for failure? IE command things of them, give them laws to live by, form covenants with them, knowing full well they could not perform and then hold them accountable for their actions which you assert He knew were going to happen and further more they couldn’t help?

    4) With your emphasis on the total depravity of man and closing predestination comments what purpose if any do you see of the church here on earth?

  • These are some great questions.

    1. I see Enoch and Elijah—just like Abraham—justified by faith. Even though they are brought into heaven “before” Christ, they really aren’t. Christ’s blood was encompassing all humanity throughout all time. Hence, In Revelation we see “the lamb who was slain from the foundations of the earth.” Moreover, in this same passage in Galatians, we see that the gospel was preached before hand to Abraham, that all nations would be blessed by the sacrifice that would remove the sins of the earth by God’s hand.

    2. Kill Jesus? Yes, he intends to have himself/his son redeem us through sacrifice. I suppose it is the hight of love. “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13). Now, he knew his creation would fall and he had always intended to have himself sacrificed for it. That is love at it’s hight in my mind.

    3. God did not set rules that were arbitrary in the core of the law. Sure, there are some strange laws. But the big 10, for example, are impossible to follow perfectly both mentally and physically over one’s entire life, having never broken them. These rules come from the very core of who he is. Good is good because God is good, not because he said it is good. Moreover, the original covenant was the Abrahamic covenant not the Mosaic. And the Mosaic did not make the other void. So, the original position of humanity was the gospel, as was revealed to Abraham according to Paul’s interpretation in chapter 3.

    4. The purpose of the church is several things—(1) to chill with Jesus through worship and community together, (2) to preach the good news of the gospel to the ends of the earth, (3) and to teach and be used by the HS to be and to help Sanctify the body.

    Cheers my man!

  • Ben

    1)Abraham was indeed justified by faith (James 2:14-26) but your entire
    thrust is aimed against living faith, faith with works. “There is no “your part” in the gospel; no “I must do ______” in your salvation.” I ask for one such example of one being saved that did nothing.

    “Even though they are brought into heaven “before” Christ, they really aren’t.” They really were dude. Yes God exists outside of time but humanity does not. Even though God’s redemptive plan was set in motion and foreshadowed throughout the OT the laws given for sacrifice and
    obedience were very real, and human choices had and do have very real consequences.

    2)I don’t deny death for a loved one is the greatest form of love. But
    the predestination you have presented, that this was plan A, does not
    allow for that form of love. The difference is akin to if someone were
    to break into my house to harm my family (God forbid) and I died
    struggling with him giving my family enough time to escape. Versus
    hiring someone to break into my house and kill me so my family would
    know I love them. If you take away the freedom of man and place
    everything on God you distort Him (God forbid) into a monster IMO.

    3)I feel you are setting the bar too low, have I broke the 10? Yes! Am I
    the chief of sinners? Yes. Am I looking to cast stones? No. But the big
    10 were expected to be the low point of the bar of Christian living, not
    so high they were unobtainable. I don’t want to remain in my sins and
    by the Grace of God I will be transformed into the image and likeness of
    Him if I follow and do His commandments (Matt 7:21). God’s covenant
    with Abraham was a high calling, a chosen people, set apart. The calling
    is high and in our broken state, apart from Him it is indeed impossible
    (John 15). But Christ never rescinded the high calling “Jesus looked at
    them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things
    are possible.” (Matt 19:26)

    4)While we agree on most of this you even state it is the church’s Job to
    “help sanctify”. We must do something, however trivial it may seem to
    you. And When we lose sight of Him and it becomes self righteousness it
    is indeed most odious to God, but that doesn’t change the fact that we
    must work with Him. Yes we agree it is only through Him that we can do
    anything, but your thrust that Christians have nothing to do and can be saved through a ‘dead faith’ without works (James 2:26), I fear is a most dangerous claim.

  • All I will say is this (in this setting—we can get coffee or something): Yes we are sanctified. But we get to, we don’t have to. Besides, it is Christ in me and the Holy Spirit that drives me to be completed and physically perfect. “I thank my God every time I remember you.In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joybecause of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6

  • CVM

    Hello Ben,

    There is a laid down principle to be followed in every covenant. I know we have Adamic, Noahaic,Abrahamic,Mosiac, Davidic and the new covenant of grace. These are the major covenants, but i’ll take a look at just three. Under the Adamic covenant all Adam had to do was not eat out of the fruit of the tree. That was the main clause, and the devil didnt tempt him or Eve in any other thing, but that which God told them not to do. When Adam broke that covenant death reigned. Then the Law of Moses and this covenant had many dos and donts, and if they weren’t followed they were cursed and ultimately died. If one of the rules were broken, it implied that all were broken.

    Then we fast forward to the new covenant of grace, and this covenant was foolproof, because it was not God cutting it with man, but it was God(Christ Jesus) cutting it with God on mans behalf. And the clause to this covenant was ‘believing’. And it’s by believing in Jesus Christ. Romans 1:5 “By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name”. The obedience to the Faith or Obedience of Faith is “believing”. The bible also says the just shall live by Faith. So when Jonathan talked about we don’t have a part to play, Yes we don’t, All we do is believe and there is real power in believing right. Paul said, for i am not ashamed of the gospel for it is the power of God unto them that BELIEVE.

    http://www.charisvillecapsules.org

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